What You Need to Know About Security Cameras For Your Rental

What You Need to Know About Installing Security Cameras in Your Rental Property

Being the owner of a rental property comes with many challenges. You’re not always sure if your tenants are going to pay their rent every time, if they are going to treat your investment property right, and if they are going to conduct illegal activities in your residence.

And, while thorough tenant screening does a lot to reduce these risks, nothing is guaranteed.

One concrete way of better protecting your Baltimore County rental property from things like theft and vandalism is to install security cameras on the property.

Many retail stores use security cameras on their properties as a way of protecting their business.

And, we always suggest you look to your rental property as a business.

However, there is some growing concern from tenants over the presence of security cameras, both outside and inside of your property.

That’s why today we are going to look at some of the most important things to consider before installing a security system, complete with cameras, on your Baltimore County rental property.

 

Can You Install Security Cameras on Your Baltimore Rental?

You Can Install Security Cameras on Your Baltimore Rental

In short, yes you can install security cameras on your Baltimore rental property.

However, this does not come without its limitations.

In Baltimore County, you are not allowed to install a visual surveillance camera in any areas considered private places without a person’s consent. This may include places such as dressing rooms, bathrooms, and bedrooms. The same rules also apply to still shots being captured via a camera.

In addition, you are prohibited from using a camera to spy on people inside of a private property. The only exception to this is if the area is being used to conduct business.

That said, you are allowed to legally install visible security cameras that monitor places such as your rental’s driveway, front and back doors, backyard areas, and garages. Any place that is considered a public place, where a reasonable expectation of privacy is not expected, you can monitor via video surveillance.

However, if you are secretly recording your tenants in any area, you may find yourself in some legal hot water.

Not only does Baltimore law forbid recording anyone without their consent within a private residence, most tenants have a reasonable expectation of privacy while in the home they are leasing from you.

As a result, most states have strict privacy laws in place to protect tenants from video surveillance within a property.

That’s why it is important to discuss surveillance laws with an experienced attorney before installing surveillance cameras on the inside of your rental.

In addition, it is important you discuss these things with your potential tenants before they sign a lease agreement with you.

Although you may have sufficient justifications for wanting to install security cameras on the inside of your rental home, outside security cameras should be enough when it comes to protecting your Baltimore County rental property.

 

What About Audio Recording?

Audio Recording is Illegal Inside Your Baltimore Rental Property

Many security cameras come with audio recording as well.

However, most states have strict wiretapping laws in place preventing the secret audio recording of private conversations, such as the ones you would expect to take place within a rental property residence.

In addition, Baltimore County takes it one step further, and states that it is illegal to record conversations, regardless of where they are taking place, unless you have the consent of all involved parties.

Even if you decide to install security cameras on the outside of your rental property, which is legal to do, it is best you do so without capturing any audio.

 

Why Use Security Cameras?

Reasons to Use Security Cameras In Your Baltimore Rental Property

There are plenty of benefits to using security cameras on your rental property, whether it is occupied or not.

Take a look at some of the best reasons why, despite the complex legalities you must familiarize yourself with, using a surveillance system is helpful:

  • Monitor Nuisances. Loud parties, over-staying guests, and other disturbances on your property are easily caught on security camera footage. Since these activities can wreak havoc on your rental property business, or can be considered a breach of the signed lease agreement, having the proof it is happening can help protect you and your property.
  • Unauthorized Maintenance Workers. There are plenty of stories floating around about suspicious maintenance workers spying on rentals so they can later burglarize them. If you use a Baltimore County property management company that has their own maintenance crew, there should be no other contractors entering your property without your consent. This is something video surveillance can capture as it happens.
  • Vacancy Protection. When your property is vacant, it is vulnerable to theft and vandalism. Taking surveillance of your rental property can help deter or prosecute these activities. In addition, it helps reduce the costs associated with vacant property issues, such as property damage, theft, or illegal use of the residence.

 

Altogether, using security cameras in your Baltimore rental property can be a good idea.

If you are looking to add security cameras to your rental property, and need some help in dealing with the legal issues surrounding both visual and audio surveillance, enlist the help of Bay Management Group.

 

Experienced and knowledgeable about all rental property housing laws, including those related to video surveillance, we can help ensure you are not breaking any Baltimore County laws with your security camera system.

 

In addition, we help protect your property in other ways by conducting thorough tenant screening, routine inspections, and drafting airtight lease agreements strictly outlining what is, and is not, allowed during your tenant’s stay.

 

Let us help you keep the peace of mind that your investment property is safe from things such as theft, vandalism, and structural damage so that you can enjoy the better parts of being a Baltimore County property owner.


9 Simple Updates to Increase Energy Efficiency in Your Rental

Ways to Improve Energy Efficiency For Your Fort Meade Rental Property

You may feel that investing in energy efficiency for your Fort Meade rental properties is not the best use of time and money. After all, you are not the one living in the property, and therefore will not reap any of the benefits.

Well, think again.

Energy efficient updates to your rental become very appealing selling points when it comes to advertising your vacancy to interested tenants. And, chances are good you’ll be dealing with fewer vacancies if you make an effort to increase energy efficiency in your rental.

There are several simple and cost-effective ways you can update your rental properties to achieve the energy efficiency that tenants love.

In the past, we have looked at some easy energy-saving tips for landlords looking to lower their tenant’s utility costs.

Today, we are taking that a step further and offering simple updates that will not only lower utility costs, but drastically reduce your tenant’s carbon footprint.

 

9 Energy Efficient Updates for Your Fort Meade Rental Property

1. Window Treatments

Caring for your property’s windows by re-sealing cracks can help keep the heat in during Fort Meade’s cold winter months, and thus save on energy bills. However, if your windows are outdated or not working properly, it is important to update your rental property’s windows.

Not only does this help lower the energy bill, it makes your tenants more comfortable during the winter. No one wants to live in a drafty rental property.

 

2. Power Strips

Power Strips Increase Energy Efficiency In Your Fort Meade Rental Property

Though including these in your rental home is definitely not a necessity, doing so is a simple and inexpensive update that has the potential to go a long way with your new tenants.

Most tenants may not realize just how much energy their dormant electrical devices (think appliances, televisions, computers, etc.) use throughout the day, even when not in use.

By providing power strips for those areas in your rental that have multiple devices plugged in at once (whether they are being used or not), you can significantly reduce energy usage, and your tenant’s power bill.

Plus, making your tenants aware of such a simple energy efficiency strategy will surely be appreciated.

 

3. Air Conditioning Shade

If your rental is the type that has a window-mounted air conditioning unit, create a way to keep it shaded at all times. This shade will ensure the unit stays cool even in the middle of summer, thus allowing it to run more efficiently.

Shading your air conditioner will also make sure that the unit only runs when the rental needs cooling, not when the air conditioner itself does.

 

4. Exhaust Fan Covers

Exhaust Fan Covers Increase Energy Efficiency in Fort Meade Rental

Retain more heat during the winter and keep the heating bill lower for your tenants by installing inexpensive exhaust fan covers in your rental’s kitchen and bathrooms. Not only will you lower the drafts of cold air coming in, you will also prevent warm air from escaping.

 

5. Door Sweeps

If your Fort Meade rental property doesn’t already have them, or they are long overdue for a change, consider installing fresh new door sweeps to all doors leading to the exterior of the property. This includes the front and back doors, as well as the door leading to the garage, and the garage door itself.

Again, preventing drafts of hot and cold air from entering the property in the dead of winter or the midst of summer will reduce energy costs, which are already soaring during those prime times of the year.

 

6. Programmable Thermostat

Programmable Thermostats Increase Energy Efficiency In Your Fort Meade Rental

Many tenants, whether they are searching for an eco-friendly rental property or not, love to see programmable thermostats in a rental property.

That’s because it is a well-known fact that over 40% of a tenant’s monthly utility bill money will go towards heating and cooling the rental property they reside in.

Programmable thermostats make reducing tenant energy costs very simple. All your tenant has to do is program the thermostat to work around their schedule, so that the air or heat units do not run when no one is home.

And, as a way to feel extra cozy or cooled off right before returning home, the thermostat can be scheduled to turn on just before your tenants enter the door.

 

7. Plant Trees and Shrubbery

Providing a backyard oasis is something many Fort Meade property owners have in mind when it comes to drawing in high-quality tenants searching for the best looking properties full of amenities.

Take advantage of the fact that your tenants want greenery in the backyard, and work to strategically place trees and shrubs in areas that will help shade your property. This greenery will help insulate your rental from wind, cold, and heat.

 

8. Go Tankless

Installing a tankless water heater in your Fort Meade rental is a great way to save on water usage, energy usage, and space. And, while some models are not inexpensive per se, the long-lasting benefits and savings of going tankless might convince you to invest a little more upfront:

  • They only heat and deliver water when requested by tenants
  • Many states offer rebates for going tankless, since it’s a green option
  • Lifespan far surpasses that of traditional storage tank water heaters

As you can see, many benefits accompany the installation of a tankless water heater in your rental property.

 

9. Install Ceiling Fans

Ceiling Fans Increase Energy Efficiency in Your Fort Meade Rental

While ceiling fans do not change the temperature of the room your tenants are in, fans definitely circulate the air enough to provide a cooler sensation.

Ceiling fans also give rental properties a boost when it comes to visual appeal.

Because ceiling fans are able to cool off your tenants during the hottest summer months, without wasting energy (like an air conditioner might), they are great for increasing energy efficiency in your rental.

 

Altogether, making your rental property energy efficient is not tough to do. It doesn’t always require a lot of time, effort, or money. Energy efficiency benefits your tenants, and gives you more leverage when it comes to advertising your property when it’s vacant.

If you own a rental property in Fort Meade and need help devising simple ways to make your property more energy efficient, or want an experienced property management group to professionally advertise your vacancy, contact Bay Management Group today.

Not only can we help with staging your rental to be as energy efficient as possible while keeping overhead costs under control, we can help cater to prospective tenants that are looking for environmentally friendly rentals.

With the right platforms to advertise on, and the knowledge of what it takes to make a strong rental property ad, you will find that enlisting our help is something worth doing.


4 Ways to Minimize Philadelphia Rental Property Vacancies

Ways to Minimize Your Philadelphia Rental Property Vacancies

Vacancies present quite a challenge to property owners.

They dip into whatever positive cash flow you have accrued for the year, require extra time thanks to new tenant placement, and can be just plain frustrating.

In the past, we have discussed plenty of ways to reduce your vacancy rates, as well as how to improve your vacancy advertisements to entice new tenants to lease out your property.

Despite the fact that Philadelphia vacancy rates are still maintaining a relatively steady decline, there are always more ways to minimize property vacancies.

Today, we are going to discuss additional ways you can keep tenants leasing your property, as well as ways to minimize downtime in between lease terms.

 

The Cost of a Philadelphia Rental Property Vacancy

Understanding the true price of a vacancy can be enough to encourage you to avoid them at all costs.

Take a look at how much a vacant rental property is going to cost you in terms of money, time, and effort:

 

Administrative Costs

Administrative Costs for Your Rental Property Vacancy

If you currently utilize a property management company in Philadelphia, chances are you are facing a fee to re-lease your property.

And while this fee covers the exceptional services your property management company is providing you, – advertisement, tenant screening, generating the lease, and moving the tenants in – when all is said and done, it is something you have to pay for.

In addition, any costs associated with the thorough background check you will do on any potential tenant is likely to cost you some money as well.

This is especially true because there are limits on how much you can charge a prospective tenant when it comes to application fees.

 

Advertisement Costs

Though some online businesses offer free advertisements of your rental property, you still need to invest time and effort into creating these advertisements.

This includes drafting up a solid and detailed ad, taking high-quality photographs of your property, and advertising across as many platforms as possible.

 

Cleaning and Repairs

Cleaning And Repairs Are Costs of a Vacant Rental Property

Every successful landlord knows that in between tenants you are going to need to conduct a thorough cleaning, and make repairs before placing a new tenant in the property.

The monetary costs of doing either of these things will largely depend on how well your previous tenants cared for your investment property.

However, no matter how minor the mess is, or how small the repairs are, you will need to invest some time and money.

 

As you can see, there is a lot to understand about the actual costs of a vacancy. Knowing the breakdown of costs in terms of money, time, and effort, may motivate you to take your Kensington property vacancies much more seriously.

 

4 Ways to Reduce Rental Property Vacancies in Philadelphia

1. Market Your Property Early

Successful property businesses make sure to give their tenants plenty of time to decide whether to renew their lease or not. This way, when a tenant decides not to renew, you have a heads up.

Utilize this time to prepare for the end of your tenant’s lease term, so that you can reduce the impact an inevitable vacancy will have on your bottom line.

For instance, start gathering advertisement details and photographs. In addition, as the lease term nears an end, consider showing your property to interested tenants before your current tenant moves out.

You may even secure a new tenant before your existing tenants leave.

 

2. Utilize Word of Mouth Marketing

Use Word of Mouth Marketing to Minimize Vacancies in Your Philadelphia Rental Property

If you own more than one rental property in the Kensington area, you might consider mentioning to your existing tenants that a property is opening up soon.

If your tenants are the high-quality type that you should be placing in your investment properties, chances are they know someone of the same caliber that may be a good fit for your upcoming vacancy.

In addition, sharing with friends and family that you are about to have a vacant property can be helpful as well.

Never underestimate the effects word of mouth can have on your success. And, as an added bonus, why not include a referral’s fee for anyone that refers a good tenant to you?

 

3. Prorate the Lease

Another great way to minimize vacancy is to offer a prorated lease agreement.

Although most tenants typically move in to new homes on the first of the month, there is no reason you can’t move a new tenant in mid-month, and prorate the rent.

And, even if the tenant doesn’t want to physically move in mid-month, there is a good chance they will be willing to spend a few weeks’ worth of rent to ensure no one else nabs the place.

Keep in mind that doing this means you’ll need to whip your rental into shape quickly between tenants.

This is where having a property management company on hand is helpful. With a reliable maintenance and cleaning crew available at all times, your Philadelphia property manager will have your property rent ready in no time.

 

4. Use a Property Manager

Use a Property Manager to Reduce Vacancies in Your Philadelphia Rental Property

As mentioned above, using a property manager can significantly help you reduce your chances of having a vacant rental in Philadelphia.

In fact, a competent and reliable property management company can help you with things such as:

  • Recommending improvements or upgrades that will garner better quality tenants who are more likely to renew their lease agreements
  • Advising you when it comes to rent rates based on their extensive knowledge about the current market, specifically in your rental’s region
  • Marketing your property across multiple platforms, so your upcoming vacancy gets as much exposure as possible
  • Thorough tenant screening and placement processes

 

In addition, a quality Philadelphia property management company, such as Bay Management Group, can help with things like lease drafting, rent collection, routine inspections, and 24/7 maintenance requests.

All of these things help increase tenant satisfaction, and the likelihood that a tenant will resign a lease agreement come renewal time, thus minimizing your chances of having a vacancy in the first place.

 

If you own rental properties in or near the Kensington region, contact our Philadelphia property managers at Bay Management Group today. We can help you minimize your vacancies, and also provide superior customer service to your tenants.


5 Appliances That Receive The Most Tenant Damage

Appliances That Receive the Most Tenant Damage in Your Takoma Park Rental

When it comes to the appliances you provide your Takoma Park tenants, you’ve probably included the basics like a dishwasher, refrigerator, microwave, and washer and dryer.

And, if you want to maintain an edge on the competition, chances are you are offering top of the line appliances that are environmentally friendly, modern by design, and of course, cost a pretty penny.

That said, it is extremely disappointing to find out at the end of your tenant’s lease term that those precious appliances you put into your rental property have been damaged.

Investing in appliances for your rental properties can help you command higher rent amounts and better quality tenants.

However, it is good to remember that not everyone is going to care for your appliances as well as you would.

And, since you can’t monitor your tenants 24/7, it can be tough to keep a handle on appliance care.

So, today we are going to take a look at some of the appliances in your Takoma Park rental that typically suffer the most tenant damage, and what you can do to minimize the damage in order to save you money in the long run.

 

Appliances That Take a Beating in Your Takoma Park Rental Property

1. Refrigerator

The refrigerator is probably one of the most used appliances in your Takoma Park investment property. That means that it receives a lot of attention on the daily, both good and bad.

Here are some of the things your tenant does that adds extra wear on your refrigerator:

  • Overfilling the Fridge and Freezer. Packing both the fridge and freezer with too many items leads to poor circulation throughout the entire unit. This makes the cooling fan have to work double time to keep things at the right temperature, meaning a burnout is more likely.
  • Dirty Condenser Coils. The coils at the back of your fridge are rarely, if ever, cleaned by your tenants. In fact, some tenants may not even be able to move the fridge to get back there and clean. However, if left for too long, these coils will have to work extra hard to provide electricity to the unit.
  • Water Filter Misuse. If your fridge produces filtered water, and the filters go unchanged for too long, the mineral buildup can ruin the entire system, and create poor quality water.

 

The key here is to remind your tenant of the steps they can take to prevent a fridge breakdown.

After all, if the fridge dies on them, you have to fix the appliance. However, they don’t get off scot free – they have to replace all of their spoiled food.

 

2. Dishwasher

Dishwasher Receives Heavy Tenant Use and Damage in Your Takoma Park Rental

Dishwashers are designed to clean dishes, but they are by no means magic.

Unfortunately, many tenants don’t understand, or care, how to properly use a dishwasher.

It is important your tenants understand that they need to rinse off dishes before placing them in the dishwasher.

More importantly, they need to know which type of soap to use in the machine itself.

Sure, dish soap cleans dishes while you are hand washing them, but if you put that soap into the dishwasher, you are in for a lot of trouble that could cost you an entire dishwasher.

When it comes to maintaining the condition of your dishwasher, inform your tenants, prior to move-in, how to use it correctly.

Also, record its initial condition during the move-in inspection.

 

3. Washers and Dryers

Appliances That Take a Beating in Your Takoma Park Rental Property

The washer and dryer are prone to extreme misuse by tenants living in your Takoma Park rental property.

And unfortunately, replacing them is going to cost you a lot if they break down, and the breakage cannot be attributed to tenant negligence.

Here are the most common ways your tenant is likely to abuse your washer and dryer units:

  • Failing to zip up zippers or remove coins, which both scratch the inside of the washer and dryer drums
  • Using too much detergent
  • Using the wrong detergent, such as dish soap
  • Overloading the washing machine with too many clothes
  • Not cleaning the lint trap or dryer vents
  • Never cleaning the buildup of debris from the inside of the washing machine
  • Leaving wet clothes in the washer for prolonged periods of time, which can lead to mold growth

Again, informing your tenants at the time of move-in how to properly use and care for the washer and dryer units will help reduce the damage those appliances typically see.

 

4. Air Conditioning and Heating Units

Air Conditioners and HVAC Units Receive Lots of Tenant Damages in Your Laurel Rental Property

HVAC units have been noted as the most problematic appliance tenants have to deal with in rentals.

And while sometimes problems are out of your tenant’s control, a lot of the damage to HVAC units is due to a lack of maintenance by your tenant.

For example, not replacing the filters that keep your air conditioning unit working properly will cause extra wear on the system, and eventually cause a breakdown.

One thing a lot of property owners do to avoid this, is provide free air filters to their tenants to help remind them to make the changes each month.

 

5. Garbage Disposals

Just as dishwashers are not magic dish cleaners, garbage disposals are not magic food crushers.

Designed for light materials that wash easily down the sink, garbage disposals are often prone to backing up, jamming, or burning out.

Here are some of the most common things your tenant is likely to place in the garbage disposal during their tenancy that they shouldn’t:

  • Bones
  • Vegetable peels
  • Coffee grounds
  • Eggshells
  • Corn husks
  • Grease and oil

 

The biggest piece of advice you can give your tenants when it comes to the garbage disposal is to use the provided sink strainer (that you should have available for use), so that none of these items, or foreign objects such as silverware, get stuck in the disposal and damage it.

 

As you can see, there are several appliances in your Takoma Park rental property that are easily damaged by your tenants.

And, despite them being high-quality tenants that never complain, always pay their rent on time, and don’t break the rules, the truth is, they are likely to be misusing at least one of the appliances listed above.

With Bay Management Group as your trusted property management company in Takoma Park, you can guarantee that proper move-in and move-out inspections will occur before and after every tenancy, to ensure that your tenants didn’t damage your property in any way.

And if they did, we take the correct measures for replacement.

Additionally, we pride ourselves in conducting routine inspections throughout lease terms to ensure nothing needs maintenance or repair.

And if something does, it is handled quickly and efficiently so that a minor repair doesn’t turn into a major repair.

So, contact Bay Management Group now, and see how we can help you protect your Takoma Park rental property appliances from tenant damage.


5 Simple Steps to Improve Tenant Retention in Baltimore County

Easy Ways to Boost Tenant Retention in Baltimore County

Failing to retain your Baltimore County tenants means you have a vacancy on your hands.

With a vacancy, you are no longer collecting a consistent rent payment each month, you probably need to make repairs such as paint the walls or replace the carpet, and of course, you’ll need to perform a deep clean.

That’s on top of the fact that you now need to advertise your vacant property, thoroughly screen all interested tenants, as well as deal with drafting a new lease agreement, collecting application fees and security deposits, and conduct move-in inspections.

That’s a lot of work, and very little money coming in.

In fact, it has been suggested that acquiring a new customer (or in your case, a new tenant) can cost five times more than keeping an existing one. 

Rather than deal with the constant turnover of a rental property in Baltimore County, and the subsequent loss of income and time, you should instead aim to improve your tenant retention rates.

In the past, we have discussed 5 solid ways to boost tenant retention. However today, we are going build off those 5 things and provide you even more steps to higher tenant retention.

 

Steps for a Higher Baltimore County Tenant Retention Rate

1. Make Communication a Priority

Communication between you and your tenants, as well as your Baltimore County property manager, is important when it comes to tenant satisfaction.

Having an open line of communication where tenants feel comfortable reaching out for anything they need will allow you to stand out amongst other landlords, as well as increase your chances of getting a lease renewal.

One great way that you can establish that communication is a priority for you is to give your tenants a tenant welcome packet prior to move-in.

This packet can include things such as important contact information tenants will need over the term of their lease, dining, shopping, and entertainment hotspots that are nearby, and general maintenance tips they should stay on top of during their lease.

 

2. Collect Rent…Online

Boost Tenant Retention by Setting Up Online Payment

In addition to having a solid line of communication established between yourself and your tenants, another great way to boost lease renewals is to make paying rent as easy as possible.

And today, most people are accustomed to paying everything online.

It’s convenient, available 24/7, easy to track, and makes your life a whole lot easier too.

Collecting rent online is a great idea – it helps your tenants, and it helps you and your Baltimore County property manager.

And, let’s not forget that it is the most secure and reliable way to collect money.

 

3. Spruce up Your Property

Many times, property owners only make major improvements to their properties in between tenants.

And, it makes sense to do so.

When the property is empty, it is easy to see what needs repair, and in order to avoid a long vacancy, that is the best time to make upgrades.

After all, the more amenities you have in your property, the higher rent amounts you can command.

However, failing to tend to the properties that have tenants in them is a big mistake.

To start, a property that is falling apart is not going to be one that a tenant wants to continue living in past the end of the lease term.

In addition, making small improvements to your property throughout a lease term, as a way of showing appreciation to your tenant for paying on time and being an all-around good tenant, will make your tenant more likely to want to stay another lease term.

One neat thing you could do, in order to really strike gold with your tenants, is to ask them if there is anything in the property they would like to see upgraded or fixed.

This will really go a long way come lease renewal time.

Your tenants will definitely remember come lease renewal time, when you replaced that old, partially functioning dishwasher with a brand new, water efficient one.

 

4. Call Before Coming Over

Call Your Baltimore County Tenants Before Coming Over

Issuing proper notices is the legal thing to do when you want to enter your investment property for one reason or another.

Not only is it illegal to show up to your rental property unannounced, but it also can really interrupt your tenant’s life.

What if they are having people over for dinner? What if they want to be home when you come over? What if they prefer not to be alone when you show up?

There are many things to take into consideration when you show up to your rental property for a routine inspection or general maintenance issue.

Respect that people live in your property, and treat it like their actual home.

If there is no immediate emergency, there really is no reason not to politely call ahead when you plan on stopping by, so your tenants can adjust their schedule and be prepared.

 

5. Use a Good Baltimore County Property Manager

Property managers typically have the most contact with your tenants.

This makes selecting the right property management company crucial to your success as a landlord, especially when it comes to tenant retention.

If your tenant cannot stand the property manager assigned to your property, has problems with administrative staff, or cannot get in touch with the on-call maintenance crew, you are going to have trouble convincing a tenant to sign a lease renewal at the end of their term.

No one wants to deal with a difficult property management company, no matter how great the landlord or the property is.

That’s why it is on you to do your due diligence when it comes to interviewing a property management company to handle your investment property.

In addition, if you notice any of the signs that your property management company isn’t cutting it, you need to know when to let them go.

 

If you are looking for an experienced property management company in the Baltimore County region, contact Bay Management Group today. With a dedication to providing superior customer service, you will never have to worry about a tenant wanting to leave your rental because of anything we do.

With 24/7/365 maintenance, online rent collection, and open lines of communication, your tenants will feel comfortable reaching out for anything they need.

And, you can count on us for top-notch vacancy advertisements, thorough tenant screening and placement, and plenty of advice on how to garner higher retention rates.

In the end, we have everything both you and your tenants need to be happy.


5 Steps to Becoming an Organized Landlord in Annapolis

Steps to Becoming an Organized Landlord in Annapolis

It seems that we all suffer the frustrating feeling of losing something one time or another. However, some of us are worse about keeping track of our things than others.

The statistics collected by Simply Orderly below show just how bad some of us are at staying organized:

  • The average American will spend 1 year of their life looking for lost items
  • More specifically, the average American will spend 55 minutes a day looking for lost items
  • The average office employee spends 1.5 hours a day looking for things
  • The average executive spends nearly 150 hours a year looking for lost information

 

In addition, Simply Orderly goes on to state that more than 1 in 4 Americans want to be more organized.

These statistics show us that no one is immune to losing things on a regular basis.

However, these statistics also show us that people genuinely want to become more organized.

As an Annapolis landlord, you should make organization of your rental property business a priority.

With all of the important documents you need to keep on hand, it is imperative you develop a system so you can collect, update, and retrieve information easily.

After all, losing your investment property information is going to make things difficult for everyone involved.

If you self-manage your Anne Arundel County rental property, and are seeking ways to get organized, keep reading to find out some of the best ways to do just that.

The success of your rental property business might depend on it.

 

5 Steps to Take to Become a More Organized Annapolis Landlord

 

1. Document Everything

It should go without saying that documenting everything related to your rental property, and the tenants that lease from you, is crucial to your rental property business.

This includes all communication – email, text, and written correspondence – as well as formal documents related to the purchase of your rental property, the lease agreement signed between you and your tenants, and any rental applications you have received for your rental property.

Keeping these documents safe and secure, as well as easily accessible, will help smooth out any misunderstandings you may have in the future. This is especially true if a landlord-tenant dispute arises.

The more you can prove with physical documentation, the safer you will be.

 

2. Create a File for Each Property

Create a File For Each Property You Own in Annapolis

It is not enough to keep all documents related to your rental properties and the tenants that lease from you in one huge and unorganized pile.

One of the best things you can do from the very beginning (as in the first time you ever lease your investment property to a tenant), is to create an organized filing system for each property.

In addition, you may want to consider creating sub-folders as a way to stay ultra-organized, and prevent the misplacement of any documents.

If you only have one property in your rental property portfolio, that’s okay.

Create a folder anyway with the documents mentioned above, as well as anything else that relates to the rental property throughout the lease term.

This may include things like:

  • Inspection Reports. Document both the move-in and move-out inspection reports, photos and video of the property’s condition, and any maintenance issues addressed prior to move-in. Don’t forget to add in any routine inspections you conduct throughout the lease term, either.
  • Tenant Information. The rental application, background check, ID copies, lease agreement, references, employment history, and vehicle information for each tenant you lease to should be saved in a secure location. This is personal information you tenant does not want others to have access to.
  • Tenant Financials. Keep record of the security deposit you collect, and any additional fees you charge your tenant, the rent amounts you collect each month, and photocopies of checks that you deposit.
  • Property Expenses. This can include things like advertisement costs, maintenance and repair costs, upgrade or improvement expenses, service agreements made with contractors, and invoices for repairs made to the property by someone other than yourself.
  • Notices, emails, texts, and written correspondence between you and your tenant should be documented at all times for resolving future disputes.
  • Rental Property Information. Again, anything related to the purchase of your investment property should be saved. This means the property deed, insurance policies, tax information, inspection certifications, mortgage agreement, and loan information. In addition, you should keep copies of your Maryland rental registration paperwork as well.

 

By keeping everything in one designated place, you will be able to access any information you need, at any time, without having to worry that something is missing.

 

3. Go Digital

Creating a physical filing system of your rental property business is an excellent idea.

However, things happen (e.g. floods, fires, or worse, thievery). And, once physical paperwork is permanently destroyed or lost, it is gone forever.

That is, unless you have saved copies elsewhere.

Saving all of your business documents online as a backup to your printed paperwork is critical to avoiding problems that result from lost information.

Invest in an efficient scanner, and scan all documents you need to save into a secure place.

One great place to save your digital folders is in the “cloud.” This way, they are accessible at all times, from any device.

 

4. Keep a Calendar

Keep A Calendar to Stay Organized With Your Annapolis Rental

Running a business is a tough job.

And, with tough jobs come lots of appointments, meetings, and deadlines.

Whether you like to stay traditional and use a pen and paper calendar, or invest in an online time management system, complete with calendaring capabilities, be sure to find a system that works for you and jot down any important dates.

Here are some important dates all Anne Arundel County property owners should remember:

  • Routine inspections work well if you conduct them seasonally. This way you can ensure your tenants are caring for your property throughout their lease term, and handle any minor maintenance issues before they become major.
  • Speaking of maintenance, any responsibilities that you agreed to at the time of the lease agreement signing (e.g. air filter replacement, landscaping, pool maintenance, appliance inspections, etc.) should be calendared so you don’t forget to fulfill your obligations to your tenant.
  • Vacancy Showings. No landlord wants to deal with excessive vacancies, however sometimes it happens. If you have a rental property that needs a tenant, schedule property showings so you can get your property filled as soon as possible.
  • Lease Renewals. One of the best ways to increase your chances of getting a lease renewal is to be proactive about it. Make sure you give your current tenants plenty of time to decide whether to renew or not, especially if you are considering a rent increase. This professional approach is also a great way of showing your tenants you care about them and want them to stay with you.

 

These are only some of the things you should calendar as a way to become a more organized landlord.

There are plenty of other important reminders you should make note of, and using a calendar is one way of staying organized.

 

5. Employ an Annapolis Property Management Company

One of the best ways to stay on track as an organized landlord is to enlist the help of your trusted Annapolis property management company.

With a professional, experienced, and established property management team helping you along the way, your chances of becoming disorganized are slim-to-none.

This is because with the right property manager, every document you need that relates to your rental property business will be safe, secure, and accessible at all times.

If you are looking for a property management company to help you with your bookkeeping needs, contact Bay Management Group today.

We can help with saving documents related to your rental properties, tenants, and lease agreements. In addition, we can help you schedule routine inspections, property showings, and anything else you can think of.

At Bay Management Group, we pride ourselves in providing the utmost in customer service. This applies to tenants in your rental property, and you as well.

We keep records of your property’s monthly and yearly profits and expenses, ensure all communication is recorded to prevent disputes, and even encourage online rent collection procedures so that you always have records of when rent was paid, by whom, and for how much.

There is so much to that goes into being a successful Annapolis landlord, and losing things should not be one of them.

Let Bay Management take care of the administrative side of your rental property business, while you simply enjoy the positive cash flow and extra free time.


How to Be a Next-Door Landlord in Montgomery County

How to Be A Next-Door Landlord in Montgomery County

You have been stewing over whether you should add another Montgomery County rental property to your growing portfolio.

And, like all successful landlords, you have done your due diligence and researched all the right things – market trends, going rental rates, amenities, financing options, as well as nearby shopping, dining, and entertainment venues.

There’s just one catch.

The rental property you want to invest in is right next door to your primary residence.

Though being a next-door landlord has many benefits, it has its fair share of drawbacks as well.

Read on to find out what the pros and cons are of living right next door to your Montgomery County tenants, and how to find success in being a next-door landlord.

 

The Benefits of Being a Next-Door Landlord

1. You Can Create a Stronger Landlord-Tenant Relationship

Living next door to your tenant is often a great way to build a better, and healthier, relationship.

In many cases, tenants have very little to no contact with their landlords.

This means they never get to know the property owner on a personal level.

Having a friendly relationship with your tenants, that still maintains strong boundaries (after all, this is a business you are running), can forge the distance that often exists between landlord and tenant.

As a result, you may be able to win over your tenant, and increase your lease renewal rates because your tenant enjoys being in your company from time-to-time.

 

2. Quicker Response Times

Next-Door Landlords Have Quicker Response Time In Montgomery County

Property maintenance can be a real pain if you self-manage your rental property, and live far across town.

No one wants to get an after-hours call that a pipe burst and the property is flooding.

However, if you don’t have a property management company on your side to help you out with 24/7 maintenance, an after-hours call is exactly what you will receive.

Living next-door and receiving a midnight call that your rental property is flooding because of a burst pipe is still going to be a pain.

However, it will be a lot easier to pop on over from next door and handle the issue at hand.

The same rings true for minor, non-emergency maintenance requests.

If your tenants have something they need, a quick visit from you next door will be far less strenuous than having to make an out of the way trip from across town.

 

3. Tenants Will Behave

If your Montgomery County tenant knows that you live right next door to them, chances are they will be on their best behavior at all times.

While we do not suggest you spy on them (this is not recommended for many reasons), tenants tend to behave better when they know their landlord is around.

Also, breaking the lease agreement will be more difficult for tenants to pull off knowing that you may notice this breach at any moment.

In addition, sneaking a pet into the property knowing there is a no-pet policy will be hard to do.

Damaging the property when you can likely easily see it will be nearly impossible.

And, tenants can forget about having constant parties that wake the entire neighborhood, because that neighborhood includes you.

 

4. Property Abandonment is Less Likely

Abandoned Property Is Less Likely to Happen With a Next-Door Landlord

In tune with better tenant behavior, another benefit to living right next door to your tenants is the fact that property abandonment is not likely to go unnoticed.

One of the biggest issues facing property owners is the non-payment of rent.

This is especially true if a tenant packs their bags in the middle of the night, and simply disappears without a trace.

Recouping lost rent payments, dealing with abandoned personal property, and having to start all over and place new tenants in their rental, are all things property owners hope to avoid at all costs.

If your tenants decide they want to leave your rental without proper notice, they are going to have to be sneaky to get away with it without you noticing.

In fact, if anything suspicious is going on next door, you are probably going to be the first to notice.

 

Problems Facing Next-Door Landlords

1. Tenant Screening

Just because you will be living next door to your tenant does not mean you can take any additional liberties when it comes to tenant screening.

You must remain consistent in your tenant screening procedures, and take care not to violate the Fair Housing Act.

While it is okay to want to place high-quality tenants in your property, make sure not to treat next-door tenants any differently than you would other prospective tenants for properties across town.

Do not ask unusual questions or discriminate against any protected classes because you want a particular type of tenant living next door.

In order to protect yourself against any claims of discrimination, enlist the help of an experienced Montgomery County property manager to help aid you with the tenant screening and placement process.

 

2. Boundaries Might Blur

Boundaries Can Blur As a Next-Door Landlord in Montgomery County

It can be difficult to find the balance between being a friendly neighbor, and maintaining your status as property owner.

While living next door to your tenant, make sure to set clear boundaries from the start.

This means establishing clear and appropriate lines of communication.

For instance, ensure your tenants that you will be available for all questions and concerns, including emergencies, but that knocking on your front door at random times is not allowed.

You want to make sure that you appear as a kind and understanding landlord that is dedicated to providing your tenants the best living experience possible.

However, you also want to make sure tenants understand that you are the boss, that there is a legal lease agreement in place, and that violations of the rules will not be tolerated.

 

How to Be a Good Next-Door Landlord

Here are a few things you can do to make sure you are a good next-door landlord:

  • Remain Professional. Always remember that this is your rental property business and that business comes first. It is okay to be friendly. It is not okay to let your guard down, and let your tenants get away with violating the lease because you are on friendly terms.
  • Screen Tenants Thoroughly. Following strict tenant screening procedures, without violating the Fair Housing Act, will ensure that your investment property, and your sanity, remain intact while your tenants live next door to you for the duration of the lease term.
  • Understand the Law. As a property owner, it is your duty to understand that tenants have the renter’s “Right of Quiet Enjoyment” while residing in your property. This means your tenants have the right to be left alone and not bothered by you on a regular basis, despite you living right next door. This means you cannot harass them as they go to and from the property, spy on them, access the property illegally, or otherwise violate their rights.
  • Be a Good Neighbor. You don’t want your tenants throwing loud parties, trashing the front yard, involving themselves with illegal activity, or bothering other neighbors. The same applies to you. Being a decent neighbor, is something your tenants will expect from you as well.

 

In the end, there are many reasons why becoming a next-door landlord in Montgomery County is a good idea.

Being able to see your investment property on a consistent basis is bound to lessen some of the typical problems landlords face with problem tenants.

However, it is important to remember that your tenants may initially be uneasy at the thought of living next door to their landlord.

Go out of your way to show tenants you are professional, and want them to enjoy your property. If you can do this, they will be more likely to sign a lease renewal come the end of their lease term.

 

If you need help managing your next-door rental property, and prefer to not deal with the logistics of collecting rent, hopping over to fix leaky faucets, or enforcing the no-pet rule when your tenant clearly has a large dog in the backyard, contact Bay Management Group to help.

At Bay Management Group, we provide property owners with a whole host of property management services for a low monthly management fee.

Enjoy the benefits of having a qualified property maintenance crew on hand 24/7, and our ability to inspect properties throughout the lease term to ensure adherence to the lease agreement.

In addition, take advantage of our strict rent collection policy that will not require you to run around collecting rent checks.

At Bay Management Group, we make management of your Montgomery County rental property hands-off, allowing you to feel stress-free about your next-door tenants.


How to Interview Potential Tenants For Your Edgewood Rental

How to Interview Potential Tenants for Your Harford County Rental Property

We all know how important it is to interview tenant references when deciding whether to lease to a prospective tenant.

In the past, we have discussed how to do just that, as well as provided some tips for how to double check, and ensure a potential tenant’s references are even real.

But have you put much thought into interviewing the actual tenant?

With so much stress being placed on verifying a tenant’s references, property owners often forget to interview the actual tenant that will be living in their Edgewood rental property.

That’s why today we are going to look at some great ways to approach interviewing potential tenants, as well as some of the best questions to ask.

 

How to Interview Potential Edgewood Tenants

 

1. Follow a Consistent Tenant Screening Process

We always emphasize how important having a consistent tenant screening process is.

And, if you don’t currently enlist the help of property management services in Edgewood, the idea of having a strict tenant screening process in place may be foreign.

However, it is crucial you don’t wing the screening process.

You might unknowingly violate housing discrimination laws, and find yourself in a lot of trouble.

Or, you might place a terrible tenant in your rental.

Tenant interviewing is entwined in the screening process.

In fact, at every stage of the tenant screening process, there are perfect opportunities to conduct mini interview sessions along the way.

Look at Rentalutions’ five stages to a good screening process, to see what we mean:

  1. The Inquiry. An interested tenant calls you wanting to know more about your Harford County rental property. This is when you can run some quick screening questions by them to make sure they are serious about leasing your property.
  2. Property Showing. This is the first time you meet the tenant in person, and first impressions are a big deal. Your gut instinct will lead you in the right direction after meeting the tenant face-to-face.
  3. Rental Application. As your tenant prepares to fill out the required rental application, you can gauge their reaction as you explain what is required. For example, a security deposit, first and last month’s rent, employment and previous rental history verification, and even a background check are typical things to require during this stage. Tenants that are hesitant to provide the documentation and money upfront, aim to rush the process, or have a lot of “good excuses” as to why they can’t do one thing or another, may signal they are not a good fit for you.
  4. After deciding that the tenant is in fact a good fit, you can sit down and discuss their approval. Again, their willingness, or lack thereof, when it comes to actually handing over the funds to lease your property will reveal itself during this stage.
  5. Lease Signing. By now, the tenant should fully understand what is expected of them while leasing your property. However, if when you are going over the lease agreement in full (as any successful property owner will), the tenant starts to fuss over provisions in the lease agreement that you are not willing to budge on, you ought to back out and find a different tenant.

 

As you can see, every point during the screening process offers a prime chance to interview tenants to ensure they are a good fit.

 

2. Prepare for the Interview

Prepare For Your Tenant Interview in Harford County

Before diving into the interview, it is important to have a game plan.

Again, violating the Fair Housing Act is something you want to avoid at all costs.

You also want to appear professional, prepared, and serious about your rental property business.

It is a good idea to have a specific set of questions you want to ask while interviewing a tenant.

And, if you prefer to split the interview into parts, make sure you have specific questions for each stage of the tenant screening process.

If you are self-managing your Edgewood property, and are unsure about conducting actual tenant interviews, try practicing with a close friend.

This can help ease some of the nerves and help you stay on track during the real deal.

 

3. Be Strong

This is something almost all property managers will recommend.

Tenants are good at trying to convince property owners to lease to them. They know all the tricks in the book, can be smooth talkers, and may even straight out lie to get you to say “yes.”

Being aware of some of the most common red flags that appear during tenant screening will help you avoid falling victim to a problem tenant.

Also, try to remain consistent with all tenants that cross your path, and don’t rush a decision.

After all, placing a less than ideal tenant in your rental property is only going to lead to more problems down the road.

And, these problems are bound to turn into yet another vacancy that you will have to fill with a different tenant.

 

5 Common Questions to Ask Potential Harford County Tenants

Common Potential Questions to Ask Tenants During an Interview

Here are some of the most common tenant interview questions you should ask potential tenants:

 

1. Why Are You Moving?

We suggest learning the most common reasons why people move, and then catering to them so they stay in your rental for long periods of time.

However, sometimes a tenant’s reason for moving so much in the past, or so quickly in the moment, may raise some concerns with you.

Be aware of this and make your decision whether to move forward based on the tenant’s answer.

 

2. Do You Have Pets?

Depending on your rental property’s pet policy, this question is an important one.

It is crucial to get an honest answer from your prospective tenants in the beginning, in hopes that they will not sneak a pet into a no-pet rental, or violate the pet policies that are in place.

 

3. How Many People Will Be Residing With You?

This is important because you should thoroughly screen all adult tenants that will be living in your rental property for the duration of the lease term.

Knowing how many people will be living in your rental from the start will ensure there is enough room for everyone, without exceeding the legal limits.

Just make sure you do not violate any of fair housing regulations, and do not discriminate against potential tenants.

 

4. Can You Pay the Move-in Costs Upfront?

Can Your Tenant Pay Move in Costs Up Front For Your Harford Rental Property?

This is a big one.

Informing a prospective tenant what you require in terms of first and/or last month’s rent, application fees, and security deposits is a good way to weed those out who simply don’t have enough income to cover the move-in costs.

Those who have issues coming up with your requirements at the start of a lease term are bound to give you trouble at one point or another during the lease term when it comes to paying rent.

And this is not something you want to deal with. Ever.

 

5. Can You Pass a Background Check?

Many potential tenants may not be aware that you require a passing background check to lease your Maryland rental property.

Kindly explain to the tenant that you are more than willing to show the property, and discuss the lease terms, but that one of the conditions upon move-in is passing a background check.

Again, this question will effectively weed out anyone that fears they will not pass.

No tenant wants to pay the non-refundable application fee if they know chances of their application being approved are very slim.

 

The key to tenant screening and interviewing is consistency – consistency in the process, consistency in the questions, and consistency in your standards.

Do not let the fear of your property sitting vacant cause you to make a rushed decision.

 

For those that own rental property in Edgewood, and do not want to worry about violating fair housing rules, interviewing tenants on the phone or in person, or having to make the decision to approve or deny a potential tenant, contact Bay Management Group now to help.

At Bay Management Group, we have strict tenant screening processes in place that are not only legally compliant, but also effective.

In fact, on average, we lease most rental properties in 30 days or less.

And, the tenants placed in the properties we lease are high quality, meet all of your standards, and are guaranteed to pay rent on time for at least the first year of the lease term, or else we re-rent your property for free.

So get in touch with us today, and see how we can reduce your vacancy and tenant turnover rates, and get you the annual income you’re aiming for.


The 4 Most Common Tenant Types in Philadelphia

Four Common Tenant Types in Philadelphia

The more experience you have as a Philadelphia landlord, the more you will realize there are all kinds of different tenants out there.

And, in order to be a successful landlord, it is important that you tune into these different types so you can learn how to recognize red flags early on, how to keep a high-quality tenant for the long-term, and everything in between.

Though you are not an expert in human behavior, and filling your vacant rental property is going to be your main priority, there are plenty of signs to look for during the tenant interviewing, screening, and placement process that can help ensure you place only the very best tenants in your investment property.

Today we are going to look at four of the most common tenant types that make up the rental property business, examine their behavior, and explain why they may or may not be best suited to lease from you.

This way, the next time you run into someone that exhibits a certain type of personality, you will be prepared, and know whether to move forward with the leasing process.

 

4 Common Tenant Types Trying to Lease Your Philadelphia Rental Property

 

1. The Hurried Tenant

If a tenant is trying to move into your rental property ASAP, as in, that very same day, take a step and evaluate the situation.

Sure, there are those times when a potential tenant might be in a serious situation, through no fault of their own, and may truly need a same day move-in.

However, there is always the chance that this prospective tenant was just evicted by their previous landlord for non-payment of rent, and hopes that by rushing the tenant screening and placement process you will miss this important fact.

The hurried tenant is going to exhibit an eagerness to turn in their application and related fees, including the sizable security deposit you are surely asking for.

They might even have explanations for not having recent pay stubs on hand, no solid references of any kind, a poor credit score, and more.

The point is, no matter their reason for wanting to move into your Philadelphia rental so quickly, do not let a hurried renter rush you into making a decision.

Follow your strict screening process, or better yet, have your experienced Philadelphia property management team handle it for you, so you don’t miss a tiny detail that could potentially turn into a major problem later on during the lease term.

 

2. The Overly Confident Tenant

The Overly Confident Tenant in Your Philadelphia Rental Property

We all like to think that we are the best at everything we do.

We are exceptional employees, parents, friends, and yes, even tenants.

However, there is a major difference between being confident, and being overly confident.

If you run into a prospective tenant that wants to do nothing but boast about how great a tenant they will be while leasing from you, we offer one piece of advice – make sure their claims are true.

Overly confident tenants are likely to remind you continuously of the following things during the tenant screening process, in hopes of convincing you they are the best fit for your property:

  • They have a perfect credit score
  • Their income is sky-high
  • Late rent payments are never an issue
  • They always follow the rules
  • Everyone loves them
  • They never complain about maintenance or repair issues
  • Loud parties will never be an issue
  • Their children are angels and never break a thing

Sound familiar?

Surely, you have come across a potential tenant that likes to boast about how great they are, any chance they get.

And, while this may be true, it is important you do your due diligence, and research their claims.

After all, credit scores, criminal backgrounds, and previous rental history will speak for themselves.

In addition, despite what a tenant may say to you about not throwing loud parties, not having a pet, or having children that never cause any problems (so renter’s insurance is never needed), make sure you add these provisions into your lease agreement anyway.

If you are unsure about how to draft a legally compliant lease agreement that addresses all of your concerns, despite having a “perfect tenant” on your hands, have your Philadelphia property manager help you.

This way, should you decide to approve the overly confident tenant, because they do seem excellent, you and your investment property are still fully protected.

 

3. The Cautious Tenant

The Cautious Tenant in Your Philadelphia Rental Property

It is wise to be cautious of anyone you do business with, no matter the circumstances.

But you know those tenants that repeatedly remind you of how they have been scammed, or taken advantage of by every single past landlord?

Of course you do.

Those tenants are difficult to deal with.

Especially with so much information swirling around, warning tenants that many landlords are just out to raise rents, violate the Fair Housing Act, overcharge on security deposits, and even infringe on your right to quiet enjoyment of the property they are leasing.

Of course, a successful and reputable property owner, and their respective property management company, will not swindle tenants during any part of the leasing process.

This includes prior to move-in, during occupancy, and after moving out.

Yet, the cautious tenant will remain uncertain, unless you prove otherwise.

However, leasing to the cautious tenant is not a bad thing.

In fact, leasing to a cautious tenant is a great opportunity for you to show them that you and your property manager are the best around Philadelphia, and that they can rely on you to take care of them while leasing your investment property.

Here are some tips for encouraging a cautious tenant to relax a little:

  • Perform secure background checks so your tenant isn’t concerned about identity theft
  • Go through the lease agreement line by line so your tenant understands both parties’ responsibilities
  • Direct your tenant to the Philadelphia rental laws, and ensure them that the fees being charged are valid
  • Provide a thorough contact list of everyone your tenant may need to get in touch with for any questions or concerns
  • Offer a tenant welcome package upon move-in so your tenant feels special

Providing superior customer service to all of your Philadelphia tenants is necessary if you want to make it in the rental property business.

Yet for the cautious tenant, the one who is suspicious about your every motive, exceptional customer service can really make a difference in building a strong, and long-lasting, landlord-tenant relationship.

 

4. The Young Tenant

The Young Millenial Tenant in Your Philadelphia Rental Property

In the past, we have discussed the impact that millennials have had on the rental property industry nationwide.

And, while the stereotypes still hold strong in many people’s minds, the truth is, leasing your Philadelphia income property to a younger tenant is no more or less risky than leasing to someone who is older and more experienced.

That said, millennials do come with their own set of special conditions when it comes to leasing a rental:

  • Tech-savvy. Millennials shop around on their mobile devices, don’t have a lot of experience using snail mail, and want rental amenities such as strong Wi-Fi to support the multiple devices they have – desktops, tablets, streaming devices, and smartphones.
  • Location is Key. The younger crowds want to know their home is within close proximity to shopping, dining, and entertainment hot spots so they can get out and enjoy their youth. If they go to school, location will also play a role in whether they decide to lease from you.
  • Spotty Pasts. Age is typically a major factor in how much money a millennial is raking in each month, what kind of credit score they are sporting, and even whether they have had any legal mishaps recently.

Leasing to a millennial is a great option, so long as they meet your tenant screening criteria.

It is, however, important to note how different they will be when compared to a middle-aged couple with a few kids and a dog in tow, or the elderly couple looking to lease a low-maintenance rental while they settle into retirement.

But different doesn’t mean bad.

 

In the end, Philadelphia is a big city with a diverse group of people.

Understanding the different types of people you may come across while seeking a tenant for your rental property is going to make the entire leasing process smoother.

If you own rental property in the Philadelphia region, and need help dealing with the four common tenant types, get in touch with Bay Management Group now.

With experienced property managers that have seen it all, we recognize a problem tenant from the start, understand the concerns many cautious tenants may have, and are in tune with what the younger crowd seeks in a rental property.


5 Tips for the Prospective Pikesville Rental Property Owner

Tips for the Prospective Pikesville Rental Property Owner

Investing in a Pikesville rental property is a great way to supplement your current income, build your retirement fund, or even just create some extra cash on the side for a fun vacation.

And, now is as good a time as ever to put your money into the real estate market, and start raking in the positive cash flow.

However, as a prospective rental property owner, there are some things to watch out for before putting all of your hard-earned cash into the “perfect rental property.”

And no, we are not talking about the run-of-the-mill advice that we see over and over:

  • Find a great location
  • Understand your financing options
  • Calculate prospective ROIs
  • Work with industry professionals
  • Get out of debt before buying
  • Determine going rental rates

 

Of course, these are all exceptional pieces of advice.

And, these tips should never be ignored when it comes to getting into the rental property business.

However, there is a lot more to becoming a successful rental landlord, especially in the beginning when you are looking for a property to purchase and lease.

That’s why today we are going to share with you some lesser-known tips on becoming a successful landlord. This way, when the time is right, you are fully prepared for what is to come.

 

5 Tips for the Prospective Pikesville Rental Property Owner

1. Avoid a Fixer-Upper

Avoid a Fixer Upper House as a Prospective Rental Property Owner

It is safe to say that this tip will not apply to every Pikesville rental property owner.

In fact, we have talked about investing in fixer-upper rental properties in the past, and have even claimed they offer property owners plenty of benefits.

Discounted prices, higher positive cash flow, and less competition are just some of the many benefits of investing in a fixer-upper rental property.

However, for those that are just starting out in the rental property business, this may not be the soundest advice.

Fixer-uppers tend to cost more money and take longer to renovate than initially expected.

Rather than wasting more time and money in the beginning than is necessary, it is best to purchase a rental property in as close to move-in condition as possible.

This way, you can place tenants in the property right away, especially with the help of your Maryland property management company, and start bringing in rent payments immediately.

 

2. Look for Simplicity

You know that beautiful Pikesville property you have been eyeing forever?

The one with a slate rooftop, crown molding, custom paint colors and window treatments, specialized lighting both inside and out, and a breathtaking pool in the backyard, complete with a cascading waterfall?

Well, as nice as all of this seems, for an inexperienced property owner without much equity or incoming cash flow, a property like this is bound to cost a lot more over the course of a tenant’s lease term than you would like it to.

Custom designed homes can rake in higher rent rates, that’s for sure.

But, they are also more difficult to maintain, and are harder to fix when it comes to replacing custom elements such as lighting, paint colors, and window treatments.

That’s why aiming for a more simply constructed rental property is often better.

You should also consider how easy it is to access the rental’s heating, cooling, plumbing, and electrical systems.

After all, these are things you or your property management team will be responsible for, should anything break.

Repairs on a plumbing system that is hidden deep within the walls and ground of your rental property are sure to cost a pretty penny.

Look to invest in a rental property that offers many simple amenities (because amenities do garner higher rent rates, and attract more tenants), but also a property that has a basic structure and uses standard materials.

 

3. Inspect the Property

Inspect Your Property As a Prospective Rental Property Owner in PIkesville

Before purchasing any real estate, it is critical you have the property inspected.

This is even truer when it comes to a Maryland rental property.

Why?

Because in Maryland, property owners have a legal responsibility to provide their tenants with a safe and habitable place of living.

A plea of ignorance will not sit well with the courts, should you face a landlord-tenant dispute because your rental ended up being unsafe and hazardous to the tenants living in it.

Electrical fire hazards, mold, lead paint levels, extreme rodent and pest infestations, and other safety and health issues will ruin your rental property business if you’re not careful.

Plus, it will not bode well in the community if your reputation precedes you as the landlord that didn’t care for his tenants.

If you are a prospective rental property owner, it’s important to have any property you think you may want to invest in inspected.

The small cost associated with a thorough inspection, as well as the inspection checklist you can provide your tenants upon move-in, will ease the mind of your tenant and prevent any disputes in the future about unsafe living conditions.

 

4. Watch the Utilities

Offering your Pikesville tenants an incentive to move into your newly acquired rental property is a great way to grab a high-quality tenant, and bring in a consistent flow of cash.

Many successful landlords offer to pay for a portion of their tenant’s utilities each month.

This added bonus is often enough to get a tenant that is on the fence about moving in the push to sign a lease agreement.

And, as a way to lower vacancy rates and keep lease renewals high, this incentive is very effective.

However, you should be careful when it comes to “paying for” your tenant’s utilities.

Oftentimes if the utilities you are paying for are in your name, you are financially obligated to pay those bills in full each month, regardless of whether your tenant is paying rent or not.

For a non-payment situation, this could mean you have to shell out cash of your own, despite not receiving a monthly rent payment, until an eviction goes through.

This is not wise.

If you are going to offer to pay for your tenant’s utilities such as water, sewer, trash, or gas, consider offering this bonus in the form of a lower monthly rent payment.

 

It will then be your tenant’s responsibility to have the utilities in their name, and pay them in full each month.

5. Create a Maintenance Crew List

Create a List of Maintenance Crew For Your Pikesville Rental Property

Property maintenance is a big part of being in the rental property business.

This is why all prospective rental property owners should take care to create a maintenance crew list before purchasing an investment property, so that maintenance and repair requests after a tenant moves in will not be an issue.

One great thing about enlisting the help of an experienced property management company in Pikesville is that they typically have a sizable Rolodex of licensed, insured, and bonded contractors for helping your tenants with all of their maintenance issues.

Not only does this save you the time of having to wade through endless contractor possibilities, it makes property maintenance simpler because someone else is handling it for you.

Timely, affordable, and reliable maintenance crews that work for your property management team around-the-clock will ultimately provide exceptional customer service to your tenants, and make your life much easier.

 

In the end, there are many things to think about when it comes to purchasing a Pikesville rental property.

And, for those that are looking to replace their day job with being a landlord, supplement their retirement income, or make life more enjoyable thanks to the extra positive cash flow from a rental, success is not optional, but mandatory.

If you want to boost your chances of achieving success as a rental property owner, get in touch with Bay Management Group today.

With us, you maintain complete control over your rental property, but receive all the help you need to become successful.

This includes advertisement of your newly-purchased rental property, tenant screening and placement, rent collection, move-in and move-out inspections, and of course, help with eviction procedures should that become an issue.